The Swedish election results were one of the worst ever performances for the ruling Social Democrats. But the result is just one example of the massive decline for social democratic parties across Europe over the past decade.
While the Social Democrats emerged the largest party in last Sunday’s election, their overall vote declined by 2.6 percent since the last election in 2014 while the populist Sweden Democrats increased their vote share by 4.7 percent. Ultimately it was the worst result for the party, which has dominated Swedish politics for decades, since 1908.
Over the last decade, before even the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, social democratic parties in Europe have seen rapid losses at the polls. But the migrant crisis and the rise of populist parties have stripped their support even further.
Sweden Election: Populists Win Their Biggest Ever Vote Share, Ruling Leftists Have Worst Result in 100 Years https://t.co/FWPk0S0Aix
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 10, 2018
Across national polls in European Union member states, very few social democratic parties have the lead, despite some, like the Socialist Party (PS) in France, being in power only years prior.
Current data heading into next year’s European Union parliamentary elections shows the PS with a mere 6 percent rating while the populist, anti-mass migration Rassemblement National (National Rally) sits at 17 percent. In 2004, the PS won 28.9 percent of the vote in the European Parliament elections which shrank to 16.48 percent in 2009, and 13.9 percent in 2014.
In Germany, the Social Democrats (SPD) have also seen their voter base decline to the point where some polls now show the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party that was only founded in 2012, ahead of them as the second largest party in the country. Just over a decade ago in 2005, the SPD won 34.3 percent of the vote in that year’s national election.
In Italy, the trend continued earlier this year with the rise of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement which formed a coalition with the populist League led by firebrand Matteo Salvini.
Following Salvini’s policies to stop migrant rescue NGOs from docking in Italy, the League has greatly increased their support to near 30 percent, having surpassed their ally Five Star Movement in many recent polls.
A new poll from Euromedia puts the Italian left-wing Democratic Party (PD) at only 17 percent, a distinct fall from 2013 when the party won 297 seats in the chamber of deputies and 111 seats in the Senate, the most of any single party.
Earlier this year, British political scientist Matthew Goodwin noted the downward trend of social democracy in Europe compared to prior decades.
It's been a dramatic collapse pic.twitter.com/eXwcdXWIQz
— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) May 17, 2018
Goodwin blasted the establishment parties over their rhetoric toward the populist movement saying: “The liberal left attacks populists and portrays their supporters as ignorant or misinformed bigots. But they ignore the possibility that our increasingly individualised societies are no longer meeting people’s communitarian needs.”
“The collapse of social democracy goes hand in hand with [the] way in which the liberal left continues to fundamentally misunderstand how the tectonic plates in politics are shifting — how we are entering a new era,” he said.